July 21, 2014
The University of Virginia is rolling out a new bike-share program similar to the programs emerging all over the country.
"It's not like renting a bike at the beach, more of a mid-day mobility option that we're trying to provide," said Rebecca White, director of parking and transportation at UVa.
The university will unveil a fleet of 120 bicycles later this summer distributed by Social Bicycles, the same system that's used in San Francisco and Orlando, Florida.
"It started as a student project in 2009 in a multi-disciplinary course they were studying academically and then it caught their attention and excitement," said White.
Students, faculty or anyone wanting to cruise around on grounds will reserve a bike using an app, online or at one of the 17 kiosks.
Anyone looking to check out a bike just for the day will pay $5 for 2-hour total use.
Any students or faculty have the option to pay $60 for the year for 1-hour of use.
At the end of the ride members will be able to check out some pretty cool statistics.
"You can track all your trips, carbon offsets and calories burned," said White.
A plus for the program, the bikes come with a feature that makes it difficult for a bike to come up missing.
"If the bike is moving without it being checked out it sends an alert to our system," White said.
The data collected may even offer useful information to make the city as a whole more bicycle friendly.
"Bigger picture, the aggregated data can show us what bike paths people are using, what routes they're using, how many trips per day, things like that that can really help us invest in bicycle infrastructure," said White.
This is being called first phase of the program and many of the bike share locations are centered around specific areas like McCormick Road Corridor.
There could be opportunities in the future for expansion after the program's success is tested in the years to come.